Locked and loaded: Development agreement clears Remington to start work on $110M gun plant in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE,
Alabama
– A planned $110 million Remington firearms factory in west Huntsville
is now locked and loaded.

At its
meeting Thursday night, the Huntsville City Council approved a development
agreement that guarantees Remington $14.5 million in local incentives -
including free use of the sprawling former Chrysler electronics plant near the
airport.

But America’s oldest gun maker will have to repay the city if
it fails to deliver on its employment promises.

Remington says that by the end of 2015, there will be at least 280 full-time employees at its Huntsville gun factory earning a minimum average
hourly wage of $19.50. That comes to $40,560 a year.

The company plans to rapidly ramp up hiring from there:

680 employees by the end of 2016;

1,018 employees by 2017;

1,258 employees by 2018;

1,498 employees by 2019;

1,698 employees by 2020; and

1,868 employees by 2021.

Also, Remington promises to bump the minimum average salary from $19.50
to $20.19 an hour – $41,995 per year – in 2017.

The company says it will spend at least $110 million renovating and equipping the Huntsville factory. The development agreement gives Remington the option of
transferring up to $20 million worth of equipment and “other capital assets”
to Huntsville from other states. Remington also makes guns in upstate New York
and Kentucky.

Huntsville’s Industrial Development Board recently bought the former
Chrysler plant for $10.5 million, using a bank loan guaranteed by Remington.
Title to the building and 145-acre grounds off Wall-Triana Highway will be
transferred to the company in about a month.

The development agreement says Remington will rent the facility from the
city for $1.25 million per year. However, the annual mortgage payment will be
waived each year the company meets its employment and salary targets.

Tommy Battle Will Not Run For GovernorView full sizeHuntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. (Eric Schultz / eschultz@al.com)

Mayor Tommy Battle said the contract includes “clawback” provisions that
require Remington to pay a percentage of the mortgage if it fails to create
all of the promised jobs.

For example, Remington says it will hire at least 338 new full-time employees at
its Huntsville factory in 2017. If it hires only half that number, the company
would be responsible for half of that year’s mortgage payment — $625,000.

And if Remington shuts down the Huntsville plant within five years, it would
either have to pay the city $12.5 million or give back the factory.
Battle said the building was recently insured for $235 million.

If Remington satisfies all the employment and salary terms, it will own
the factory and grounds outright after 10 years.

“Remington is a great and honorable company,” said Battle, “and I don’t
ever expect to have to touch those clawbacks.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/02/locked_and_loaded_development.html

180 new pregnant patients in January, just the icing on Madison Hospital’s 2nd birthday cake

MADISON, Alabama – Moments after a visitor collapsed in the hospital
lobby, the “med-alert” alarm sounded and Mary Lynne Wright hastily left her
board room and rushed to the scene.

It’s not standard protocol that the president of Madison
Hospital should react to every emergency in the 60-bed facility that celebrates
its second birthday today. But it is a standard of extra care and personal concern that Wright
said she and all of her 390-member staff believe is more attainable because of their
size.

The ability for even administrative officials to check on
visitors in distress is one of the advantages of still being a small, community
hospital, Wright said.

Mary Lynne Wright 05 - edit.jpgMary Lynne Wright, Madison Hospital president

“When you’re small you can do some things a little bit
differently,” she said. “If I see somebody and I recognize that they’re a
little unsure about where they’re going, I’ve got plenty of time. I can stop
and walk them to where they’re going.

“That’s what you do at a small hospital. Everybody pitches
in,” she said, noting the cafeteria cashier also came to check on the welfare
of the person who fell in lobby.

While being small has its advantages, Madison Hospital is
growing, both in facility size and number of medical services and admitted
patients. That growth probably could
come faster, but the hospital on U.S. 72 struggles with getting physicians
from Huntsville to practice there. Still, a new 60,000-square foot medical
building is nearing completion on the 25-acre campus that will be a lure for
more physicians to establish roots in Madison.

The OB-GYN center, in particular, is already delivering more
babies than anticipated and poised for growth. The Breast Center is adding
another technician to meet demand for mammograms. In a couple of weeks, the new 64 Slice CT scanner will be operational. The hospital also will be adding
its second full-time physician, Dr. Doug Downey this summer. And administrators
are already hoping to enlarge the emergency department and thinking about how
to afford a surgical robot.

When the hospital opened two years ago, the first goal was
to get the emergency room established, Wright said. They anticipated 19,000
emergency room patients the first year and ended up seeing 37,000. They added
three more patient rooms to the emergency department in the first years, so it now has 15. Wright
said she “hopes” to add three more this year.

Six months after opening, the hospital began delivering
babies. It was averaging 25 births a month one year ago, and now is averaging more than 65
deliveries per month, with the highest month at 73 this past fall.

A big part of that growth came from OB-GYN Associates moving
its practice from Decatur to Madison, Wright said. The group already hired two
more physicians and plans to add a third this summer to handle growth, she
added.

“When they add those kinds of numbers to their practice,
they are expecting it to explode,” Wright said. “They told me in January they
saw 180 new pregnant women. That’s a good volume for one practice to have. By
this time next year I’d like to see us delivering at least 100 babies a month. I
truly think we can get there.”

Getting a child birth center established is a key to Madison Hospital’s growth, Wright said, because it establishes a vital role
from the onset of starting a family. When parents give birth to a child at the
hospital, there’s a good chance they will bring their children back there when
they get sick or injured, she said.

“This becomes your community and this becomes your community’s
hospital. And that’s really what Madison Hospital is, a community hospital,” Wright
said.

Other highlights during the past two years:

  • The Breast Center now sees 500 patients a month and is
    adding another technician that can increase that number by 150. The center,
    located in the Progress Bank building next door to the main hospital, just
    added a bone density scanner to check for osteoporosis in men and women.
  • The Vein Center opened in May 2013, and is treating 40 to 50
    patients a week.
  • The surgery unit, which has five operating rooms and two
    endoscopy rooms, is performing 350 surgeries per month for orthopedic, eye,
    pediatric, OB-GYN, urology, endoscopy and similar general surgery procedures. It is capable of 250 more surgeries
    per month.
  • On any given day, the hospital will have 15 physicians
    serving patients, including pulmonary, nephrology, neonatal, gastro-intestinal
    and infectious disease fields.

Wright said she anticipated having more physicians coming to
Madison when the hospital opened two years ago. It’s not that the doctors don’t
want to come, she said, but that it’s simply hard to accomplish logistically
because of the distance between downtown Huntsville and Madison.

“The biggest challenge that I’ve had is with our medical
staff because so many of our (Huntsville area) physicians live in downtown
Huntsville or Hampton Cove,” she said. “You can plan realistically an hour and half travel
time. Even though the physicians want to be out here, they struggle with the
logistics of getting here.”

The limited number of physicians, however, also is one of Madison
Hospital’s most attractive aspects to doctors, Wright said. The physicians feel
a little more special in Madison because there are fewer of them compared to downtown
Huntsville, and  that fits perfectly with the small-town charm the
hospital tries to convey with patients, she said.

“This is a very different environment,” Wright said. “It’s important
to me that patients or visitors that come to this hospital get a feeling
when they walk in these doors that we are embracing them and we want them to be
here. They have a choice of where they can go. They don’t have to come to
Madison Hospital.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/02/180_new_pregnant_pateints_in_j.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


austal2-22.JPG

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


port.jpg

The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

Mobile business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


We've Moved (Blogs)



Read the latest Mobile business news at al.com/business/mobile, or read all our business news at al.com/business.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/mobile_business_news.html

Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


DuckCommander.jpg

The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.


money.jpg



     

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

Birmingham business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


We've Moved (Blogs)



 To get the latest Birmingham-area business news, please visit al.com/business/birmingham. For more business news, visit al.com/business.

If you’re an RSS subscriber, you can find the new feed here.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/birmingham_business_news_has_m.html

‘World class’ show: Attendance at Huntsville AUSA symposium 4 times that of 2013 Florida event (photos)

AUSA winter main.JPGMore than 5,700 people attended the Association of the U.S. Army Winter Symposium held last week in Huntsville. (Contributed photo/AUSA) 

Association of the U.S. Army President Gen. Gordon Sullivan
said Huntsville’s inaugural turn as host of its Winter Symposium and Exposition
was nothing short of “world class.”

More than 5,700 people attended last week’s event held at
the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. The symposium featured an expo with more
than 200 exhibits with the latest in military technology offerings, as well symposiums with panelists from around the country.

The event also featured the variety of Army commands based
at Redstone Arsenal. Army Materiel Command was the featured command and Gen.
Dennis Via was among the speakers.

Via said the conference was important for Huntsville and
important for Redstone Arsenal.

“Having AUSA’s winter symposium is a tremendous benefit for
our community,” Via said. “It’s also a great benefit for personnel at Redstone
who often don’t have the opportunity to travel to this type of event.”

This year’s attendance was more than four times the number
that of last year’s event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. When announcing the move
from Florida to North Alabama, AUSA officials said they hoped the move closer
to a major military installation would encourage participation.

Sullivan said not only did the number of attendees grow, the
amount of participation from those at the meeting also increased.

“This has been one of the most productive (symposiums)
we’ve held,” he said. “We’ve been able to hold these great open
meetings. Our industry partners have told us the same thing.”

Sullivan said AUSA has not determined where next year’s
symposium will be held and asked this year’s participants to contact him with
their thoughts.
“After that, we will have some tough decisions to make,” he said at the close
of last week’s conference.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/02/world_class_show_attendance_at.html

Japanese government decides to resume use of nuclear power it curtailed after 2011 Fukushima plant meltdown

Japan Earthquake Nucl_Bran.jpg Futaba Kosei Hospital patients are assisted by Japan Self Defense Force personnel as they disembark from a helicopter in the compound of Fukushima Gender Equality Centre in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday morning, March 13, 2011 after being evacuated from the hospital in Futaba town near the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Daisuke Tomita) 

The Japanese government has indicated it will resume the use of nuclear power which was curtailed after the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima plant that has contaminated parts of northern Japan, The New York Times reported today.

The boiling water reactor plant design at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens is identical to the design of the Fukushima plant.

The largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl began with an earthquake and an ensuing tsunami which led to the operator to losing control of the plant, overheating and eventual hydrogen explosions.

Japan stopped operations of the country’s nearly 50 reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and had indicated a willingness to phase out nuclear power. The country relied heavily on nuclear power for its energy needs and the idling of plants and the increased use of fossil fuels has led to higher energy prices in Japan, the Times reports.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has argued nuclear power is necessary to meet Japan’s energy needs. In a plan expected to be presented to Abe’s cabinet this week. In the energy plan, the government contends that nuclear energy is an important energy source and signals a willingness to build new plants, according to reports.

The decision comes during a period where polling data suggests the Japanese public is uncertain about the use of nuclear power. The Wall Street Journal reports that a survey by Japan’s Fuji TV network found that 53 percent of residents surveyed opposed restarting the country’s nuclear reactors.

The Fukushima disaster was called “man-made” in a report by a special commission appointed by the Japan’s government after the March 2011 nuclear plant disaster. The commission found the plant’s owner failed to implement basic safety measures because it didn’t want to bear additional costs. The government was criticized for failing to develop an evacuation plan and regulators were faulted for a too-cozy relationship with the utility company.

The report cited negligence at the plant, but also blamed the “mindset” that enabled that negligence.

“What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan,’” according to the report’s introduction written by the investigating commission’s chairman. “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience, our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/02/japanese_government_decides_to.html